What Are Salient Issues?

by Susan Presley

In the phrase "salient issues," the word "salient" is an adjective and "issues" is a noun. That is, "salient" is describing the types of issues.

Definition

According to Merriam-Webster, "salient" means leaping or springing for movement, or standing out in a conspicuous way. In the phrase "salient issues," the word means standing out. Therefore, a salient issue is one that stands out from other issues.

Journals and Newspapers

In academic writings, journals and news articles, authors sometimes try to find the salient issues in a subject. For example, a 2002 article about health care reform attempted to find the salient issues for nurses by exploring which parts of the health care plan would be important in nursing practice.

Actions

Salient functions can be actions as well as issues that are written about. For example, if a coach is watching a recording of a basketball game, he likely will pick out the salient functions when reviewing it with his team.

Finding Salience

Determining the salient issues is a subjective process. That is, what is salient for one person may not be for the next.

Creating Salience

When plotting a course of action or writing, keeping the audience in mind will help the author determine what the salient issue should be.

References

  • Merriam-Webster: Salient
  • "Hospital Topics;" Collective Bargaining in the Nursing Profession: Salient Issues and Recent Developments in Healthcare Reform; Mike Schraeder and Leonard H Friedman; June 2002

About the Author

Susan Presley has worked in health care journalism since 2007, and has been published in the American Journal of Nursing and other academic periodicals. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Truman State University and a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Elektra Noelani Fisher